Two exciting things are happening in February, the first of which is a free, four week course called Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers. I’ve written about FutureLearn in the past and have done a handful of their courses, so a VFX course is of course great news.

What’s even more thrilling, for me at least, is that I’m one of the educators on the course. To go from an eager FutureLearn student to co-designing a course has been a real privilege. The course goes live on February 8th and runs for four weeks. You can sign up any time between now and the end of the final week.

As is the way with FutureLearn courses, you can study it at your own pace which makes it easy to fit in and around whatever time your life affords.

It’s the brainchild of Saint Walker, lecturer and head of the VFX course at NUA, and it’s been put together as a collaboration between NUA, FXHOME and MPC. That’s pretty nice company. Each week introduces an aspect of visual effects, examining it from historical, industry and home-grown perspectives.

That means you’ll get the theory, backed up with high end examples from MPC, followed by practical, introductory lessons that you can do yourself in the free version of HitFilm 3 Express (a unique and excellent editor-compositor hybrid). The course is very much aimed at complete beginners – if you have an understanding and passion for filmmaking but haven’t yet ventured into visual effects, it’s perfect.

There’ll be lots more information over on the blog soon and in the meantime you can sign up and get ready by heading here:


Marn · February 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

Hi Simon,
I am doing your visual effects course.. Couldn’t find anywhere appropriate at Future Learn to ask this question.
Can you tell me please if I will be able to use Premiere Pro 6 rather than installing Hitfilm3.. And achieve the same results?
As much as I’d like to install Hutfilm3 my system won’t run it. Will you cater for people using other software?
Thank you

Simon Jones · February 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Hi Marn! Thanks for the question. Although the tutorials are based around HitFilm 3 Express, the general techniques being covered apply to any compositing software, such as After Effects. The reason HitFilm 3 Express was made part of the course is that it’s pretty much the only free editor/compositor for both Mac and PC that also has an approachable learning curve.

The problem with using Premiere Pro 6 is that it designed specifically as an editor, so is not built with compositing in mind, so you are likely to find it a bit limiting in that area. As an Adobe user, do you have access to After Effects? That’s going to be the closest equivalent.

Also, what specification is your computer?

kathyclem · February 8, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I am in your class and looking forward to it.

    Simon Jones · February 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks! Really hope you like it.

      kathyclem · February 13, 2016 at 1:39 am

      Great Class! Thank you very much, really enjoying it. Very easy to follow and love all the examples you provided from artists working with VFX. Again, thank you.

Marn · February 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm

Thank you for your reply Simon.
Yes, I do have After Effects. Not that well versed in it but keen to learn!
My system: iMac11,2 Speed:3.2Ghz

Dylon Kiker · February 12, 2016 at 11:20 pm


I signed up for the course and it’s been a blast so far. The funniest moment for me was when you were introducing yourself. I had looked away from the video for a second but instantly recognized your voice…from your tutorials on the old Composite Lab and Particle Lab programs lol!

You did a great job on those and I am glad you are doing this one. Looking forward to the rest of the course.

    Simon Jones · February 13, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Thanks, Dylon! Amazed you remembered me from the good ol’ days. 😉

kathyclem · March 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

Simon, I really enjoyed the class and got me hooked, I bought HitFilm Pro yesterday and can’t wait to use it in my projects. Thanks for introducing me to HitFilm.

Simon Jones · March 1, 2016 at 10:57 pm

That’s great to hear! So glad you enjoyed the course. Hopefully see you over on the HitFilm forum.

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